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My possibly not that helpful Xmas survival guide

drunk dog holding champagne bottle wearing chequered tie red sunglasses mouth open

When it comes to Christmas planning, I’m like a cross between Kirstie Allsopp, Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson – think turbo-charged domestic goddess, wrapped head to toe in tinsel, toting a platter of home-made, warm mince pies at all times. Actually, that’s a total lie. I’m notoriously terrible at Christmas planning. I wing the entire festive season by the seat of my pants and if I remember to buy a turkey, I count that as a win.

If you’re an utter festive failure like me, then my five-point Christmas survival guide is for you. I’d like to say it’ll help you nail your planning this December but, er, I don’t like to make promises I can’t keep. Merry Christmas!

Perfect your presents

Naturally, I consulted my Gifting Spreadsheet, created back in October and purchased with 3 month to go. Er, no, scrap that. What will actually happen is around 20 December I’ll consult my Muddy gift guides and panic-buy like a demon. However I like to think I make up for this hopelessness by being an excellent wrapper. This year I’m going for lo-fi plain brown parcel paper, jazzed up with some pretty ribbon – this is because I recently discovered that the metallic stuff isn’t recyclable. Pass my halo and put me atop the tree pronto.


Have an escape plan

My mum used to boot my dad down to the pub for hours while she cooked the turkey, lucky man! No such joy for me, I’m behind the cooking wheels of steel on Xmas Day, but I need my space too, so I’m going to head off for a bracing walk first thing before the kids rugby tackle me under the Christmas tree and the turkey starts winking at me to stuff it in unmentionable areas. If you’re more of an after lunch stroller, check out the favourite festive walks of the Muddy team.


Family diplomacy

Throw two over-excited small children, one grumpy teenager, straight-talking Kiwi Mr Muddy and my mother and brother into the mix and Christmas day familial relations chez Muddy are a tinderbox of bickering and tantrums. This year however, I’ve got a failsafe strategy – I’ve invited friends over for drinks and nibbles on the big day. My children will disappear off and play happily with theirs, while everyone will be on their best behaviour because we’ve got visitors. Bingo!


Take charge of the post-lunch TV

I have two TVs and can’t work either of them. My children roll their eyes as I poke the remote with my tongue hanging out, trying not to delete Netflicks for the second time in the week. But who cares, I pay the goddam bills and I’m taking charge of the square-eyed entertainment! I’ve already circled the best bits of the Radio Times (ringfenced: The Jungle Book and Strictly of course) and decided that this will be our ‘happy’ time where my squabbling rabble of a family makes like the Home Counties version of The Waltons. Just add a gin and tonic, Pringles and a small miracle and it will all work out perfectly.


One for the road?

If all else fails, just drink through it, I say. Ideally all of these delicious drops. Funnily enough the drinking is the only aspect of Christmas at which I excel. What a trooper, eh? Cheers!


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